2014 in Review

We’re a month into 2015 and I haven’t given much time to look back at 2014.

Project Related

I really can’t go into specific detail, but I got to do some pretty cool stuff.
I got to do work on the Bella Vista Animal Shelter’s website. We upgraded their old web experience into a responsive build with a CMS. We spent an afternoon out at the shelter doing volunteer work. It was really great building an emotional connection with the organization.

I also wrote three applications using AngularJS. This has to be the highlight of the year for me. I’m fairly confident I published the first Angular app in the company. It wasn’t the flashiest, but it caught a several people’s attentions.

I got to work with one of our larger development teams. I frequently solo and occasionally double team projects. I actually got to spend a good part of the year working closely with 5 other developers. I introduced a new project branching model with them and we worked out the kinks before preparing it for the rest of the company.

In December, I got to participate in a Rapid Innovations Workshop at our Dallas office. I haven’t gotten to go down there to see the team in over a year and it was really great to catch up with them. The workshop was fun and a lot of great things came out of it.

I sneaked in an published my first app a couple days before the new year. It’s for Windows 8 and not really something to submit for contests or whatever. As a developer, you get ideas on an hourly basis and you have a giant pile of “side projects” that you do in your spare time. I’m really excited that I got it published. It’s a Steam Achievement Tracker for seeing achievements in Steam games.

Skills I Learned or Polished.

I made a really big effort to increase my productivity this year. The two big things I did was make a large effort in improving my VIM and console capabilities. I started using Git through the command line.

I did a lot in the JavaScript world. I spent about 3 months in Angular, most of the year learning the ins and outs of Grunt, and played around a lot with other frameworks like HandlebarsJS.
A developer that stops learning new stuff will become obsolete in a matter of months.

Other Cool Stuff

I participated in the Extra Life gaming marathon. A bunch of coworkers and myself gamed for 24 hours straight and we raised $804 for Children’s Miracle network hospitals.

I built a lot of cool stuff for our new house. I made a 6′ by 4′ table, a mega L desk for my computer, a bed for Lily, a toy chest for Lily, a Tardis bookshelf, some shelves in our bathrooms, a bunch of garage storage stuff and installed a fire pit. I’ve acquired quite a few new gadgets over the last year too.

I’m really anxious this year. I’m planning on participating in the Rockfish Probono work, doing the Extra Life marathon again, and bolstering more of my development skills.

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.

I am a Web Developer

I am a web developer, and we could be the most complicated and strange people you have or ever will interact with.

We grew up building LEGO models asking ourselves the question, “How can I make this bigger?” We played videos games thinking, “How can I build this?” We were fans of both Star Trek and Star Wars, because we knew the only thing they remotely had in common was the word Star. We wore bow ties before the Doctor said they were cool.

Now we work in the dark corners of our offices, ruling over the kingdom that is our code. We take other people’s ideas, bring them to life and at times lack the ability to explain how it works. We find it difficult to integrate with our co-workers because our interests are typically polar opposites. We try socialize, but it usually ends in awkward situations.

We use different web browsers and read news from different sources. We see viral videos before they went viral; we bought the latest tech gadgets before they were announced (and we never show it off); and we already know which console will be the best in the next generation.

We frequently fix bugs with descriptions of “It’s broken,” and we still somehow manage to find and fix it. We work off general ideas and play the guessing game instead of working with structured documents telling us what to build. We are left off the ending credits, and we don’t mention it. We celebrate with other developers and brag amongst ourselves.

We thrive off complex problem solving and we do not have an off switch. We go to sleeping thinking about what problems we left at work and wake up eager to get back to make it better. We fight internal struggles to throw our work out the window and start from scratch to make it perfect. We don’t ask, “How can this make more money?” Instead, we ask, “How can we make this better?” We don’t ask, “Why?” We ask, “Why not?”

We don’t get always along with other developers. Our code is our art and we think our own art is perfect. Our brains are answering the same questions with different paths to the solution. Some of us code for scale, some for maintainability, and some for complexity. We always feel that our way is the right way. We will bang our heads on our desks for hours and not ask for help because we are too proud. We will say “Oh yeah” or “How did I miss that?” when someone walks over to us and bravely asks us “What’s up?” or “Can I help?”

Some of us try to get ahead by boasting abilities and using the terms “Ninja”, “Guru” and other technology buzz words. The humble among us know that our work speaks volumes above the words on our LinkedIn profiles. None of us know everything, but all of us are eager to learn as much as we can.

United, developers can do anything. They will build a global e-commerce platform and then build you a social network capable of handling millions of users. We don’t care if it reaches that number, but we do care that it can.

We are here to build what you need, and we patiently wait for the next challenge.

Disclaimer:
My right eye was swollen shut when writing this. Please be sympathetic on spelling and grammar

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.

Just a quick update

I have a couple of posts in the works. I’ve been focusing a lot of my time on my youtube channel doing video tutorials. I’d appreciate it if you checked them out. http://youtube.com/captainworthy.

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.

Microsoft Build Conference Day 3

I drug around most of today. We had a lot of information in a really short amount of time. Here’s a quick overview of my sessions for the day.

Developing High Performance Websites and Modern Apps with JavaScript Performance Tools

This was a pretty fun session about how to use the new F12 profiling tools.

Visual Studio 2013 for Web Developers: Deep Dive

This session was packed. I had to watch it from an overflow room and barely got a seat in there. Mads Kristensen went over some of the really cool features that are now pulled out of web essentials and plugged directly into VS 2013. He also published the VS 2013 Web Essentials Preview AND published the GitHub project for it.

Reusing Your Web Development Skills in Windows Store Apps

This session was good, but I found it a little misleading. It was mainly how to use what jQuery you already know properly in Win 8 HTML apps.

I didn’t make it to our last session. I decided to spend some time in the Sponsor area. It was pretty empty so I spend a good amout of time talking with people from Xarmin, Nokia, Parse and some people with Azure.

Scott Hanselman and Damian Edwards were hanging out at the Azure booth. I really love the fact that most of the speakers hang out and socialize with the other devs throughout the conference. Both these guys decided to try to chain 128 USB hubs, that were being given away by Azure, to power a mouse. They got all of them together, all the lights came on, but power for the mouse only got to about the 5th hub. It was pretty funny and it drew in a really big crowd.

The conference was essentially over at 3. We decided to head over to Fisherman’s Wharf and do a little sight seeing. We saw Alcatraz and a little bit of the Golden Gate Bridge. Fog prevented the bridge from being seen, but I can now say I’ve seen the bridge and the main setting from The Rock and Escape from Alcatraz.

It’s been a really fun trip, but I’m ready to be home with my girls. I’m getting up at 3:30 tomorrow morning to catch my flight. Here is to safe travels!

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.

Microsoft Build Conference Day 2

Busy, but awesome day in tech at Build. Going to be short but sweet.

Keynote

Lots of good stuff shown off for VS2013, Azure and Office 365.

What’s New in ASP.NET and Visual Studio 2013

I wont lie. Scott Hanselman is one of the reason I love coming to dev conferences. I find him extremely inspirational and he does such a great job at making his sessions fun. I’ve watched a lot of his sessions twice.
Scott dove into all the great new features coming to VS 2013. Showed off how asp.net is moving to “one” asp.net with seamless integration between MVC and .net forms. Developers will be empowered to build their own templates a lot easier.
This was the session of the event for me. Due to some long demos, these sessions were shifted back a little bit. Scott entertained us with Ascii street view, http://letmebingthatforyou.com/, youtube videos and tons of other fun stuff. He actually favorited my tweet.

This was absolute nervana for me. My coworker and I saw him in the dev area. We wanted to go talk to him but we both felt like we would be this Chris Farley character.
I really didn’t feel up to embarrassing myself like that. Go watch his session, even if you don’t code. You’ll get a good laugh.

Scaling the Real-time Web with ASP.NET SignalR

This was a very informative session that answered just about all of my questions about scaling SignalR. Damian did a really great job demoing all the scaling tools.

Fast Apps and Sites with JavaScript

This was a great session. It put me in my place that I’m not nearly as good at javascript as I thought I was. I normally focus on maintainability and best practices in code. This session was kinda like, to heck with all that! Lets make everything run SUPER FAST! It was pretty mind blowing for me.

Create Fast and Fluid Interfaces with HTML and JavaScript

This was an extension of the what’s new for WinJS from yesterday. Paul went over a lot of the new features, why they decided to improve them and went over code for them.

Today was full of tons of great info. I’m really ready to be home though. I miss my family a great deal. I hid in a corner and tried to face time with Amanda and Lily. The wifi wasn’t so great and it ended shortly. I found several other people doing the same thing a couple hours later. It was good to know I wasn’t the only one missing my family.

Here is where I’m planning on being tomorrow:
9:00AM to 10:00AM
Developing High Performance Websites and Modern Apps with JavaScript Performance Tools
Jonathan Carter

10:30AM to 11:30AM
Visual Studio 2013 for Web Developers: Deep Dive
Mads Kristensen

12:00PM to 1:00PM Sessions
Reusing Your Web Development Skills in Windows Store Apps
Jonathon Sampson , Ralph Whitbeck

2:00PM to 3:00PM
Building REST Services with JavaScript
Nathan Totten

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.

Microsoft Build Conference Day 1

Day 1 was pretty awesome. I’ve included links to the sessions on Channel 9. Videos of the sessions should be up in a couple of days. I’d encourage you to check them out when posted.

Day 1 Keynote

Line to get into the keynote of day 1
Line to get into the keynote of Day 1
Keynote stage was like a nerd rock show
Keynote stage was like a nerd rock show

Keynote showed a lot of good information about Windows 8.1, Bing Apps, and Spark.

8.1 has some really cool features that a lot of people feel should have come with Windows 8. There is now a good blend between Modern apps and Desktop apps. You get the start button back. There is better multi monitor support and multitasking modern apps.

We had time to check out the vendors, device labs and other areas before the sessions.

Sweet prop gun you can win by using certain APIs in your Win 8 app.
Sweet prop gun you can win by using certain APIs in your Win 8 app.
Extremely busy partners area. Tons of goodies for grab.
Extremely busy partners area. Tons of goodies for grab.

Session 1 – Windows Phone: Design for Developers

As a developer, this was a great session. Corrina show a lot of great tools that any developer can use to help make apps look better without having to know all the ins and outs of designs.

Session 2 – New Platform Capabilities for Advancing Web Development

This session was packed, but there was a ton of good stuff. New features in video DRM, in browser encryption, and immersive graphics with WebGL.

My favorite part of this session was the demo of the new tool features of IE’s dev tools You no longer need to refresh your DOM with dynamic content, CSS shorthands can be expanded into individual properties, and you can search the DOM based on CSS selectors. I really see this as my new development browser of choice.

Session 3 – What’s New in WinJS

I got a lot out of this session. I’ve tried to do a lot of stuff in Win 8 apps. A ton of the features I was trying to do are now included. There are also drastic improvements by simply upgrading to WinJS 2.0.

Session 4 – Windows 8.1 in the enterprise

This session had some pretty exciting stuff. There are great improvements in BYOD and security features of 8.1. I can’t speak in great detail on these, but they are pretty awesome. You can setup an RT device to access your work files without adding it to the domain (if setup properly) by using a dual authentication process. You sign in normally and then you get a secondary auth by phone.

There is also file encryption that can be utilized to de-auth access of a lost device or a specific set of files. The example was you use and HR app on your RT device, but then leave the HR department to work as a PM. Your server administrator can revoke access of the HR app and not the whole device.

Hackathon participants got an exclusive work area.  Experts roam in the area to help out.
Hackathon participants got an exclusive work area. Experts roam in the area to help out.
One of the many 3D printers on display
One of the many 3D printers on display
End of day swag pickup.  The line wrapped around the entire meal area and all the way to the other side of the convention center.  We waited in line over an hour. It was worth it though.
End of day swag pickup. The line wrapped around the entire meal area and all the way to the other side of the convention center. We waited in line over an hour. It was worth it though.

It was a really great first day. I’m pretty worn out, but I’m ready for tomorrow!

Where I’ll be tomorrow:
11:30AM to 12:30PM
What’s New in ASP.NET and Visual Studio 2013
Scott Hanselman

2:00PM to 3:00PM
Scaling the Real-time Web with ASP.NET SignalR
Damian Edwards

3:30PM to 4:30PM
ASP.NET Web API 2 – Web Services for Websites, Modern Apps, and Mobile Apps
Daniel Roth

5:00PM to 6:00PM
Windows Phone: Learn from the Winners

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.

Microsoft Build Conference Days -1 and 0

Microsoft Build doesn’t officially kick off tomorrow, but I’m going to go ahead and fill you in on my trip so far.

Day -1

I’m not the biggest fan of traveling. I’ve always relied heavily on my wife to get me where to go in airports and while driving. I’ve been pretty nervous the past few days. This is going to be the longest I’ve been away from Amanda since we got married almost 6 years ago and it is definitely the longest I’ve been away from my 14 month old daughter Lily.

To make this extended time apart as easy as possible, we spent the whole day together in Tulsa. We went to the Zoo, the mall, Baby’s R Us and just enjoyed each other’s company. I really needed it and I wasn’t interrupted a whole lot by work.

Day 0

Amanda and Lily dropped me off at the Tulsa airport where I flew to Huston then to San Fran. Tulsa to Huston was awesome. It was one of those 3 seats per row and I got the seat by the window all by myself. I worked on a power point presentation on code branching strategies.

From Huston to San Fran was a different story. Exit row with no seat in front… in the middle of 2 guys who liked the elbow rest. Not fun, but it could have been worse. I started reading American Sniper and napped.

Getting to the hotel was fun too. I got lost and got a real culture shock. You’re not really use to the kind of stuff you see in San Francisco in North West Arkansas. I met up with the other guy from Rockfish who is attending the conference and we’ve setup our battle stations in the hotel room. I was really hoping to get to play the new Borderlands 2 DLC that came out today, but the internet connection is pretty slow. It’s been downloading for four hours now and it’s only a gig.

Tomorrow starts off the big day. I’ll do my best to post frequent updates on my twitter account @WorthyD.

Sessions were posted on Channel9. Here is where you’ll most likely find me.

11:30AM to 12:30PM
Windows Phone: Design for Developers

2:00PM to 3:00PM
New Platform Capabilities for Advancing Web Development

3:30PM to 4:30PM
What’s new in WinJS

5:00PM to 6:00PM
Windows 8.1 in the enterprise

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.

A 24 Hour Hackathon And My Experience.

I can say I’m no stranger to 24 hours of straight work. It has only happened on a handful of occasions and was typically to meet a deadline. On January 18th from 5pm to 5pm the next day, I participated in a 24 hour Hackathon. I was on a team of six and our goal was to build a website to serve a very specific need. We successfully hammered out a fully functional product that would have taken at least a month of development under normal circumstances. Here are my experiences and learnings from the event.
Continue reading “A 24 Hour Hackathon And My Experience.”

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.

Just an update

As you may know, I’m a developer for Rockfish Interactive. Well, I’m a senior developer. I got promoted a few months ago. Regardless, I code all day and I love it. Why do I love it? I get to do different stuff all the time. I get to do cut out, javascript, database work, and good ole C#. It’s never a dull moment, but can get a little stressful. I’m currently on a project that has web, mobile web, and facebook components. It’s been a great opportunity to learn how to share content and site components across platforms. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to share across mobile web and web. It still seems to be a case by case basis. I ran into some frustrations on my current project. Main issues were multiple people on the same project. I have issues with source control. I dislike Mercurial, SVN, and all the other version controls I’ve used. Need to try GIT I guess.

Haven’t had much time to blog lately. Heh, haven’t had much time to do scouting, much gaming, or anything. I’m going to make more of an effort when I come up with better ideas and make time. Until then I’m just going to keep Minecrafting!

I’m a Technology Architect for Rockfish Digital. I’ve been there since 2007. I love coding and spend most of my time in C# and JavaScript. I’m a firm believer in the Full Stack Developer.